October 09, 2015

Tim Tookey

Tookey grew up in Edmonton, idolizing Gordie Howe and Norm Ullman. He would play junior hockey with the Portland Winter Hawks, establishing himself as an offensive threat.

The Washington Capitals selected Tookey 88th overall in the 1979 draft. They would give him some early chances to play in the NHL, with the results looking promising. He scored 39 points in 57 games spread over two seasons.

Tookey was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in February, 1982. He seemingly never got a great chance at the NHL level again. He would get looks with Quebec, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, but he became a career AHLer.

Perhaps it was his lack of speed, and subsequent knee and ankle injuries did not help. Which is ironic in that back in junior hockey he earned an associates degree in "Prevention of Athletic Injuries" at Portland Community College.

That career in the AHL would land him in their Hall of Fame. Over 15 seasons Tookey racked up 353 goals, 621 assists and 974 points in 824 career games.

Gene Ubriaco, who coach Tookey in Baltimore, was a big fan of the savvy center.

“Tim was a very good player. Often we were a little short on players and talent, and so I had to use him like you can’t believe. He had a couple of looks in the NHL before that, but with me he played all the time. He killed penalties, played power plays, and he could really handle the puck. When I had him, he was on his way, and he certainly helped me a lot, but when he worked in Hershey he became a legend.”

His best years came in Hershey.

In 1986 he led the entire AHL in assists and then won the Jack Butterfield award as playoff MVP, making Tookey the first and only player from the losing team to win the award.

The following year he won the AHL scoring championship with 51 goals, 73 assists and 124 points, establishing a Hershey record. He also won the league MVP award.

"John Paddock gave me a chance to play with Ray Allison and Ross Fitzpatrick. It was probably one of the most fun times I’ve ever had playing the game. They weren’t just great hockey players, but they became good friends. We had so much playing on and off the ice, our families and everything. We had a bunch of great guys on that team, and it’s one of those years you’ll never forget. Probably one of the biggest thrills you can have as a hockey player is 50 goals in a season in any league."

After a two year exit to the LA Kings organization, Tookey returned to the Bears in 1989 to play five more seasons.

In 1993 he won the Fred Hunt award for sportsmanship and dedication to the game, an award he valued as much as any other.

"The Fred Hunt Award holds a special significance. It was special to have your dedication and sportsmanship recognized," he said.

Tookey, who became a ceiling sprinkler installer after retiring from hockey, took up coaching youth hockey for a stretch.

"I try to enforce teamwork; it takes a team to win, a team to lose, and a team to be successful. I instill in each player that they must be a gracious loser and an even more gracious winner. There is only one thing you can ask of your players and that is that they give 100%; if they do that they will be successful in whatever they do."

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